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Turkey Meatball Soup with Orzo - A Family Feast

Turkey Meatball Soup with Orzo

Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
Prep: 45 minsCook: 2 hours 30 minsTotal: 3 hours 15 minutes


To Make the Stock

  • 2 pounds turkey legs (about three legs, no thigh)
  • ½ fresh parsley with stems (the more stems the better)
  • 2 medium carrots washed and cut into quarters
  • 1 large stalk celery cut into quarters
  • 1 leek, white only cleaned of sand and quartered
  • 1 garlic clove smashed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 black peppercorns whole
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts water

To Make the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • ¼ cup onions, minced
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare the Soup

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onions diced
  • ½ cup celery diced
  • 2 cups carrots, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup leeks, white only cleaned of sand and diced
  • Stock from cooked turkey legs (about six cups)
  • 1 quart additional chicken stock (carton or canned)
  • Cooked meatballs
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • ½ cup dry orzo pasta
  • Cooked turkey meat, about one pound
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided


  1. In a medium stock pot, put all stock ingredients, bring to a boil, cover and simmer covered for two hours. Strain and reserve the stock. Pick meat from turkey legs and hold cooked meat until later. Discard the remaining solids.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, place all meatball ingredients and mix to combine.
  4. On a parchment lined sheet pan, scoop out 36 meatballs approximately ¾ of an ounce each. (We used a medium/#40 scoop like this one and then hand rolled each meatball.) Bake for 20 minutes, cool and set aside.
  5. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil and cook onions, celery, carrots and leeks for five minutes over medium high heat.
  6. Add both the fresh and carton broth along with cooked meatballs and fresh spinach. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium low for five minutes. Add dry orzo, raise temperature to medium high and cook for 15 minutes until pasta is tender.
  7. Add cooked turkey meat and half the Parmesan cheese. Bring to hot and serve in bowls with remaining Parmesan cheese and some good crusty bread.

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